May 31 2007

Litvinenko Smoking Gun

Major Smoking Gun Update Gifts from Litvinenko passed to Lugovoi well before the day Litvinenko fell ill had Po-210 traces found on them. That puts Litvinenko with contamination much earlier than before. See below for details. – end update

Let’s assume Litvinenko and Berezovsky were cooperating with MI6 (not full time spies of course) and feeding some dribs and drabs of intel to help destabilize Putin. But what if, in parallel and unknown to MI6, Litvinenko and Berezovsky were ALSO working with the Chechens to open up a new front against Moscow – part of Berezovsky’s openly desired coup d’etat. What if Po-210 smuggling was part of this double agent plot to pretend an alliance with Britain while these Russians coordinated their coup from the safety of the UK. OK, picture that scenario while reading this transcript of Lugovoi’s press conference:

Mr Lugovoi said in 2005 Mr Litvinenko invited him to London where he proposed the idea of starting a joint business. Mr Lugovoi went on to say that he was paid too much money for giving minor consultations to British business partners.

“It became clear that the fee was aimed at gradually engaging me in co-operation. The talks were becoming more open. The British started to show interest in everything: my connections, financial opportunities, if I had direct access to the Russian president’s administration, as well as contacts with officers of the Federal Security Service, the Federal Bodyguard Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service. They were especially interested in an opportunity to get information about the FSB activities in the so-called English direction.

For maintaining an undercover connection, I was given a British mobile phone, which I was supposed to use for calling from Moscow to London. From bad to worse: Litvinenko gave me an edition of Yevgeny Grishkovets’ book Rubashka and told me that now we have to use cipher like in spy movies and to encode a text using numbers of pages, paragraphs and lines.

“One has to be a complete idiot not to understand that under the pretext of developing a joint business, a banal recruiting was going on with concrete political and intelligence goals with regard to Russia and its president.

The phone records for that personal phone Litvinenko provided would be quite interesting fodder. Recall that during this time Litvinenko was supposedly travelling to Georgia and Turkey and meeting with Islamic terrorist types. One thing is clear, the more I see Lugovoi’s comments in context the more I see his point

“London was hoping that I would keep silent as I have not been extradited… and that all the questions would resolve themselves: I would be branded as a criminal; Berezovsky would get a very good reason not to be extradited to Russia; Scotland Yard and the British special services would save face in the eyes of their taxpayers; while Russia and its leadership would be discredited for a long time.

Yes, it is possible someone is doing a CYA maneuver here. The fact Po-210 was smuggled through London is bad enough. But maybe what also happened is the exposure of Litvinenko’s and Berezovsky’s unsavorey activities is a bit much for some of his MI6 handlers to deal with. Again – who knows? One thing is for sure, the assassination case is NOT clean cut as some pretend:

“Second, for some reason all British newspapers are saying that the poisoning took place on 1 November, but Litvinenko and I met twice in October. Moreover, we met in his home in summer, when his wife Marina was away. By the way, Berezovsky didn’t know of that meeting. It was almost the ideal place for a poisoning. However, when conditions were ideal, it didn’t happen. But in a bar with a lot of people, when he could have failed to turn up, in the presence of dozens of witnesses, it happened. This means that someone wanted us to be seen together in the Millennium Bar.

This has always been the weakness of the assassination theory. All the other times (and methods) when a much more controlled assassination could have taken place are passed up. Recall that the meeting in the Pine Bar was initiated by Litvinenko – not Lugovoi – after Litvinenko met with Scaramella and Berezovsky. And there was a meeting between Lugovoi, Kovtun and Litvinenko scheduled the very next day. What was it that made Litvinenko push for the quick meeting prior to the big soccer game? Lugovoi makes other great points:

“Third, those who know Sasha can confirm that he never drank or smoked. Neither I nor Dima [Dmitry Kovtun] can remember whether he ordered anything, tea or water, because we were preparing to go to a football game at the time and, since it was cold, had drunk a good amount of spirits. What kind of idiot poisoner would it take to act in such a primitive way? Again, somebody wanted to set us up.

Good point. Very good point. But the next one is even better:

“Fourth, if the poisoning took place on 1 November, then how did the polonium leave traces [changes track], I underline, it only left traces in places in London where I and Litvinenko met in October. And why was the polonium found in aircraft on which Dima and I returned to Moscow and Germany respectively in October 2006? My only conclusion is that we were purposely marked with polonium in order to use us in a political scandal later.

This is the first time we have confirmation all the Po-210 traces are eminating FROM London. No traces from Moscow to London. And recall Kovtun was exposed on Oct 16th, after which he left for Moscow, then departed there to go to Hamburg on the 26th or so, where he left a Po-210 trail in Hamburg. I still want to know HOW Berezovsky knew about the German Po-210 trail well before anyone else did – as he claims in his phone call with Lugovoi only days after Litvinenko’s death. But clearly, the Po-210 trail’s source begins in London – not Moscow. And now for the smoking gun:

“Sixth, already in summer 2006 Litvinenko started giving me various little gifts. When I was tested in the hospital, all my things were checked. It turned out that souvenirs and a number of documents which Litvinenko had given me long before 1 November were splattered with polonium. I told our investigators in the Prosecutor-General’s Office about this, but they said that their British colleagues weren’t interested for some reason. It is possible that Litvinenko himself left the traces (of polonium), but this theory was unacceptable to the British justice from the very beginning.

If true, if the Po-210 on these items can be traced back much farther in time (and they could be easily distinguishable due to their decay rates), then the Po-210 was being moved through London a lot longer than over a few weeks in October. And now those flights Litvinenko took to Georgia and Turkey are even more concerning – if this part of Lugovoi’s claim is true. And finally we get to something else not reported much – the MI6 link:

“Seventh, it is no longer a secret that all my meetings with Litvinenko were thoroughly followed by the UK secret services. Why didn’t they follow up Litvinenko’s poisoning and allow all of us to leave Britain without punishment? Why has the address where we met British agents, [names omitted], not been included among the dozens of places in London mentioned in the media where polonium has been found? I would like to know whether polonium traces was found in that office, which is in essence one of their secret meeting places.”

This site must be one of the UK security firms everyone has been wondering about. The office buildings Lugovoi is probably referring to where the location of those two mysterious as I identified here in this previous post. So Erinys or RISC Management is a possible MI7 front? Seems plausible.

So, where does that bring us. Well if the Po-210 trail goes back to the summer of 2006 with Litvinenko’s gifts the entire evidenciary trail in the news media now must be thrown out and re-examined. Clearly the Po-210 was eminating from London – not Moscow. And we have a situation where the UK was working with people who may have been playing them – working as double agents. What if the support Berezovsky and Litvinenko was throwing at the Brits was to provide them cover? Or worse, what if the entire thing was an MI6 covert plot gone bad. One thing is clear, the information Lugovoi and Kovtun provided did pretty much explode what we thought we knew about this case. Did Litvinenko expose himself to Po-210 months earlier? Was the Po-210 planted evidence on Kovtun and Lugovoi to divert suspicion from Berezovsky and Litvinenko when things broke lose? Did Litvinenko die by his own clumsy hand as he tried to mark the two Russians in Lugovoi’s room where there is a supposedly massive spill of Po-210? I hope we will find out for sure one way or the other. We need to find out for sure given the danger of the material at the center of this story.

BTW, check out this good theory over at The Belmont Club – it is a strong contender. The only change I would make is swap out MI6 as the coordinator of planting evidence and put in someone like Berezovsky.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Litvinenko Smoking Gun”

  1. Wikistan says:

    Best spy drama in years gets better…

    Strata has sooo much more on the Litvinenko Polonium-210 poisoning case.  Sooo much more, in fact.
    My guess is that despite all the Russian bluster about missile defense shields, new ICBM’s, cyber attacks, and claims of Western “imperialis…

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    The issue that is still not resolved , is that it is generally agreed that the original source of the stuff was from Russia.

    It doesn’t seem consistent that they could bring the stuff in without a trace of contamination, but then once it got there all hell breaks loose and contamination strikes from there outward.

    Especially if you believe you have dumb mules bringing it in originally.

  3. crosspatch says:

    Belmont Club has basic and crucial fact wrong:

    eventual explanation will be consistent with the one known fact: the Polonium 210 came from Russia

    That is absolutely not known. There was one report that was never confirmed but widely repeated that it did. There was another report that was confirmed by a couple of others and hardly reported at all that the origin of the polonium would be impossible to trace.

    Also, I believe there WAS one flight from Moscow to London that was contaminated and there was one flight from Moscow to Germany that was contaminated.

  4. crosspatch says:

    Or at least there was a flight from Moscow to Germany that contained a contaminated individual … who was not in London during Lugovoi’s latest trip there … but who arrived in Hamburg apparently highly contaminated.

  5. MerlinOS2 says:


    Even AJ mentioned this source a couple of posts back. But regardless of the country of origin, the logic of my post still stands.

    I came in clean and then turned into a mess.

    So if you were smuggling, you would want firm control from source to endpoint.

    I mean this isn’t cocaine or heroine you are trying to cut 10 or 20 to one before putting it on the market.

  6. Koba says:

    The transcript of the press conference takes us a lot further forward than the sketchy news reports, which is in itself interesting. Most of the British media seemed to focus on the claim that MI6 tried to recruit Lugovoi, which would hardly be a surprise.

    I was reading something the other day about the intelligence services covertly arranging to supply Iran with faulty goods for its nuclear program. It then occurred to me that MI6 could have been using Litvinenko to gather information and track the nuclear-related activities of the Chechen/Al-Qaeda networks (with the aim of disrupting the activities and wrapping up the networks). This seems to be roughly what the Belmont Club is suggesting. It would certainly not be untypical for the British to act in this way. So rather than double crossing MI6, could Litvinenko have been double crossing his Chechen pals?

  7. nightfire007 says:

    Old habits die hard, huh? The guys from have created much more interesing things though…